LbN: Last chapter! Thanks for reading!
Tyler stayed in his room with the door locked for the next whole day. It was six o'clock before he emerged, looking refreshed if timid. He took Reid's hand as they walked downstairs.
"How are you?" Reid asked quietly.
"I'm okay," Tyler said, giving him a small smile. He looked at the other two, who were waiting at the bottom of the stairs for them. "Really."
"Come on," Pogue said, clearly relieved. "Our parents are flipping shit. And dinner's ready."
The meal was quiet—no, it was silent. The adults were obviously waiting for Tyler to make the first move, for which he was very grateful. He finished his dinner and his apple tart before clearing his throat. "I'm sorry if I scared you guys," he said. "I…it was a lot to process. I needed to be alone for a while."
"It's alright, Ty," Mr. Simms said.
"How are you feeling now?" Mrs. Simms asked.
"Good. Honestly. I'm…not looking forward to Ascending…" he gave a nervous chuckle. "But…if this is really what I am, then I can't change it. I'll just have to deal with it the best I can."
"Bravo," Mr. Perry said, smiling.
"Besides, I'm Ascending tonight, and I've only had three of the elements. We might be wrong." Looking around the table, he could tell no one bought that. That was a pity, because he wanted to believe it himself….
"Gotcha!" Tyler said, as his avatar sniped both Caleb and Mr. Garwin's avatars, winning a fourth round of Halo.
"Did you Use?" Caleb asked.
"No," Tyler said. "I never Use during video games."
Caleb said nothing but started setting up another round. The others, including the dads, looked around nervously at each other.
"Are you mad at me?" Tyler asked.
"I just don't think you're taking this seriously," Caleb snapped.
"You didn't act like it downstairs. You're acting like this is no big deal."
"Caleb!" Reid snapped.
"He doesn't need you defending him," Caleb shot back, but he did pause for a moment and looked at their dads. The older warlocks looked bewildered and anxious, but didn't say anything. He continued. "This is real, Ty. And you're acting like this is going to be a regular, run-of-the-mill Ascension."
Tyler squirmed as Caleb continued to lecture him. Finally, he stood up. "I need some air," he mumbled, running from the room.
Reid waited until Tyler had left before throwing a small blast of power into Caleb. By small, it still meant that it sent the warlock flying into a wall, but it didn't truly hurt him.
"Reid!" the dads yelled.
When Reid spoke he was surprisingly calm and quiet, but the air was crackling with anger. "I'm going to need you to stop being an arrogant jackass," he said. "Stop. Picking. On. Him."
"He needs to—"
"Shut up," Reid said. "He's scared Caleb! And he doesn't want us to know, because he doesn't want us to worry. He was just trying to be normal for the last few hours that he could be."
"I'm just trying to make him grow up."
"Well, he's not going to need help with that. He'll be growing up rather quickly in…35 minutes."
"I'm sorry," Caleb said. "I'm just worried about him."
"Really? Because I think you're jealous."
"Yeah, jealous that he's going to be the most powerful Son of Ipswich. He's taking your place and you can't handle it. If you could, you'd be more supportive. I'm going to find him. He shouldn't be alone this close to Ascending."
Tyler ran. He ran harder than he'd ever run before, vaulting over decaying fences, fleeing into the heart of Ipswich. Physically, he was feeling fantastic, but his head was spinning. He only had 30 minutes until it happened—until he became the source of magic for generations to come. But maybe if he ran fast enough, he could dodge it. Maybe the magic wouldn't find him. He didn't believe that anymore than he believed that he wasn't the Origin, but running—moving—was better than standing still. It was better than sitting and listening to Caleb, while he waited for his fate. So he ran. Even though he was only…20 minutes from Ascension. Even though the ground was muddy. Even though the trees were getting thicker and his running was becoming more of a frenzied scrambling. He ran.
"Tyler!" Reid called as he followed his boyfriend's footprints through the mud. "Tyler!"
"Jesus, how fast was he running?" Pogue asked.
"He'd just woken up a few hours ago," Caleb said. "He probably still had that energy left. The video games didn't get it out of him. Damn it, we only have 15 minutes."
"Fuck this shit!" Reid said. His eyes went black and he disappeared.
"Damn it, Reid!" Caleb called.
"Knock it off, Caleb," Pogue said. "Reid's right for once. You gotta get out of your own head, man. We only have 15 minutes. Use, for Christ's sake." He disappeared as well.
A moment later, Caleb had disappeared too.
Tyler tripped over something. Root, rock, he didn't know, but it sent him rolling down a small hill and into a creek. He scrambled back onto the bank, panting for a minute before passing out.
"Tyler!" Reid called. He ran down the bank, kneeling beside him. He rolled the youngest Son of Ipswich from his side to his back and wiped the mud from his face. Pogue and Caleb were beside him a second later. "He's out cold."
"Should we take him back to the house?" Caleb asked. "It might be dangerous to move him. Even if we all Use again, we might not get him back in time."
"He's shaking…" Reid said, anxiously. "Why is he fighting it? He'd been fine…"
"He's stressed," Pogue said. "He probably can't help it."
Caleb looked stricken at this. He knelt and pulled Tyler up so the younger warlock's head was resting in his lap, out of the mud.
"Five minutes," Reid said.
Tyler watched the crowd around him. He didn't understand. He was alive! There was no need for a funeral. He watched as Reid's tears fell on his glass coffin. "Don't cry," he said, but it echoed in the box. He listened. The minister's speech was slow and solemn and talked about a life cut short. Once he'd finished speaking, Reid, Pogue, and Caleb began to shovel dirt onto him. "No!" he shouted. His protests rang in his own ears, but didn't seem to reach theirs. They were done in a few minutes, and Tyler was left in a musky darkness. He didn't understand. Couldn't they see that he was awake? He was worried for a moment, and then shafts of light began to filter through the dirt. Ah, they'd realized. They were going to get him out. It was weird though. The light was coming in small shafts—as if they were poking holes in the dirt. And it was getting hot. Really hot. What the hell was going on? He was starting to hear a weird crackling sound too. More dirt was coming away now, and he could see bright flashes of light. The coffin was an oven. "Shit!" he said, struggling. "Let me out!" The bright flashes continued, blasting larger holes in the dirt. They began to strike the coffin now, and it rattled under the heat and pressure. He struggled harder, breaking out of the tight bandages that were holding his hands to the bottom of the coffin. He hit the top of it, burning his hand in the process. He knew what they were now, the flashes of light. It was lightning. "Help!" He called again. One bolt hit the coffin square in the middle, shattering the glass. Cut and burned, Tyler shook the glass off of him and inhaled the cool night air. Another bolt came down, striking him and tossing him into the air.
Caleb gently put Tyler down. Holding him wasn't working anymore.
"Ummm…Caleb?" Pogue said, showing the oldest his watch. The pair of them pulled Reid away.
"What the hell?" Reid yelled.
They didn't have to explain. In the distance, the town bell tolled 8:00. Tyler's eyes snapped open—wide and black. He gasped and a moment later was in the air, suspended by waves of raw magic. It lasted a minute, but it was different from the other three Ascensions. The magic was purple and red. It looked gentler than the other boys' had, but it still looked powerful—harsh. The magic spun Tyler in the air before he fell to the ground.
Reid approached him carefully and put a hand on his shoulder. "Ty?"
Ty looked at him, eyes still black. "I can't handle this," he said shakily. "My head hurts. My fingers are tingling."
"That's just after-effects of Ascension," Reid insisted. "You're okay. You're going to be fine; Origin or not."
"Is there water?"
"Come on." Reid heaved him to his feet. With Caleb on Tyler's other side and Pogue leading the way with the flashlights, the helped the Origin back to the house.
With every step, the urge to Use subsided a little. Reid's words were ringing in his head. You're going to be fine; Origin or not. As they helped him back to the Simms Mansion, he couldn't help but trust his boyfriend. He knew, from the way he'd felt right after the Ascension, that this was going to be hard, but maybe it wouldn't be a nightmare.
LbN: Hope you liked it! I'm taking a break from my normal fandoms. There's a poll on my profile to vote for which fandom I'm going to adopt. I am, however, going to come back to this storyline in a sequel. There's more in store for Tyler and Reid. :)