A/N: I think this is the last chapter. But please review!
I am flawed
But I am cleaning up so well
I am seeing in me now
The things you swore
you saw yourself
It'd been two weeks since…'the incident.' Reid still slept in Tyler's bed, curled up tightly beside the boy. Or, rather, Reid laid in Tyler's bed. Because he hadn't been sleeping often. The obsessive fear he took to his nightmares was unprecedented. He was absolutely terrified, but it was a silent terror that unnerved Tyler. A terror that forced Reid into silent submission Tyler didn't even know he was capable of.
Tyler sat, knees drawn to his chest, in the only arm chair in his bedroom. He sat there and watched Reid sleep. It'd been a while since he'd caught Reid sleeping, completely lost within himself, face blank and seemingly emotionless. Tyler knew that even though he couldn't see it on Reid's face, there was probably something going on behind closed doors. Just because he wasn't thrashing around and screaming bloody murder, it didn't mean that he wasn't still locked within a nightmare.
The time was drawing near. Reid's mother had called two days ago, informing her son that she had book a flight for Friday. She wanted to be there to see her son off to high school. Friday was in two days. School started on Monday. And Tyler realized that he didn't want Reid to go. He knew being trapped in the same house as Danny was killing Reid, but Tyler didn't want to be separated from him.
Reid shifted, his face scrunched up in pain and he rolled over, curling tighter into a ball. He shivered and tugged unconsciously at the blanket, pulling it tighter over himself. He was almost childish, burying his face in the soft, perfectly thick blanket, instead of the pillow mere inches from his head. The pillow remained ignored, forgotten and unused. The pillow had always been Tyler's, because Reid's head belong on Tyler's chest, or pressed against his arm. Without Tyler's relatively warm body beside Reid, his head merely fell against the mournfully nondescript blankets.
Tyler didn't want him to go. He liked sharing his bed with Reid. He liked the vice like grip Reid always seemed to have on him. His arm wound tightly around Tyler's waist, hand clenching and unclenching around an overly wrinkled section of his t-shirt. He liked feeling every movement Reid made, every time he shivered or shuddered, or sobbed. Tyler liked knowing that Reid didn't hide any of it - not from him. Reid hadn't torn himself open, but he still bared his soul for Tyler. He didn't push away, or deny it all. Danny had cut a massive hole into him, so deep he was terrified he wouldn't be able to find his way out again, and yet he stayed like that, and he let Tyler look into that hole whenever Tyler could.
Would they still be friends? After they returned to school, and civilization. Would Reid still think of him? Would he still need him? Or worst yet - want him? Tyler didn't want to think about it, but the question still nagged at him. He knew Reid would try to shove this issue away, the moment he left. Out of sight, out of mind, locked tightly away. But would he also shove Tyler away because Tyler would always be a reminder. It was a part of Tyler that had hurt him - when all he ever tried to do was help Tyler. The thought made Tyler want to cry. If Reid were to shove him away then who else would Tyler have? Who else is there aside from Reid? No one.
"Baby boy?" Reid's voice was weak, but Tyler jumped. He'd been watching him, yet he hadn't noticed Reid moving. Reid was staring at him now, completely awake as if he hadn't ever been asleep. And then Reid moved, he straightened up and shoved himself into a sitting position. The blanket that he'd been clinging to just minutes ago fell free and pooled at his waist. Tyler tried to look away. The bruises, although faded, were still vibrant against Reid's pale chest. Tyler could just make out the finger shaped bruises forever clutching his hips just above the blanket. "Are you crying?"
"What?" Tyler croaked. Hastily he scrubbed at his cheeks, willing the tears away. It's stupid to cry over spelt milk anyway, right?
"Tyler," Reid grunted, heaving himself out of the bed. Clad only in sweatpants, he padded across the room. "Why're you crying? Did he do something?" His voice was so soft, Tyler flinched at it.
He shook his head quickly. "No. I'm fine." He rubbed at his cheeks harder, mentally berating himself. He had nothing to cry about. He wasn't the one that got raped. And it was so completely his fault too. He shouldn't have exposed Reid to this…to all of it. Reid should have remained ignorant…ignorance would have been good this time. Safe.
"Hey." Reid, gentle if only for this moment, touched Tyler's face tentatively. That was the only way he touched anymore. Tentative, hesitant, reluctant. It was such a sudden change from who Reid used to be - abrasive, impulsive, domineering. Reid Garwin wasn't supposed to be gentle, he wasn't supposed to be soft or thoughtful. It wasn't who he was. And that single thought made Tyler sad. Because Reid had changed so drastically that he might as well be somebody else entirely. A completely different person. "You never talk to me anymore." His fingers, soft once more, fingered the tears moistening Tyler's cheeks.
Tyler scoffed, and couldn't stop the urge to cry anymore. That one statement made him sob harder. It made him turn away from Reid and curl tighter in on himself, burrowing his face deep within his knees. "Tyler?" The concern was apparent, so loud it hurt his ears and he tried to cover them with trembling hands. But his attempts were futile and he didn't really block out any sound. "I'm sorry. What did I do? Tyler?"
"No," Tyler moaned, his voice thick and unintelligible. His throat clogged with spit and that growing lump that always accompanied tears. "You didn't do anything. I'm sorry."
"Sorry?" Reid repeated, clearly confused. His hand lingered, outstretched in the air, not quite touching Tyler, not quite sure if it wanted to either. "But you didn't do anything. You don't need to be sorry…"
"Yes I do," Tyler argued, his voice strong and weak at the same time, muffled and yet so very loud against his shaking knees. "I have to be sorry. I can't not be sorry. Because it's all my fault. I didn't do anything. And it's all your fault. And if you didn't care so fucking much about me, he wouldn't have ruined you. He wouldn't have destroyed the only thing I fucking care about!" Tyler's head lifted, even though he didn't want to look at Reid. He was almost thankful that Reid was blurred from the tears, but the image still burned. He still wanted to look away, but he couldn't. "I'm sorry," he repeated.
Reid frowned, still confused. But Tyler's confession did something to him too, something they both knew Tyler hadn't wanted to do. "I'm sorry too," Reid confessed, his own voice thick and hoarse. He lurched forward, and threw himself at Tyler, pulling the sobbing child almost roughly into a hug and half way off the chair. "I'm sorry I made you cry," he mumbled, his words lost within Tyler's hair, and found there too. "I'm sorry I couldn't stop him from hurting you."
Tyler buried his head in Reid's shoulder, his own tears rubbing off on Reid's bare skin but neither boy noticed. "I'm scared, Reid."
"I know," Reid mumbled. "I'm scared too."
"I don't want you to forget about me," Tyler elaborated. "When you leave for high school. I don't want you to forget about me."
"I won't," Reid vowed. "I won't forget." He pulled away, and scrubbed at Tyler's face, wiping away the tears even though Tyler hadn't stopped crying. "I won't forget, because I'm taking you with me. I won't forget because I won't leave you here. Not with Danny. Not alone."
"It shouldn't be your responsibility," Tyler said. He didn't stop Reid from wiping away his tears, or cupping his face once he was done, so very close together as if they feared what would happen once they'd separated.
"Yeah huh," Reid argued, his voice soft and agreeable. "If it weren't then what would make us friends? What friend would I be if I left you alone like this? You fucking need me…"
"I shouldn't need you," Tyler muttered begrudgingly. His own hands, smaller, gripped almost desperately at Reid's arms.
"Friends need each other," Reid informed Tyler. "Even when they don't, they do. You need me. And I need you. And that's why we won't forget each other. Agreed?"