A/N: I honestly just recently started to love Tyler/Vicki. His quote in episode 18 was so heartwrenching for me; you could tell how bad he felt about Vicki. And as I rewatched the earlier episodes, I could see how much he liked her, but that their social classes, and their situations, kept him pushing her away. I really like them now; I needed to write something.
"I was a dick to her. I was... really bad. That's what I hate, is, I can't make any of it right. It's like I don't deserve to even miss her."
"I love you, Ty."
He was never able to say it back.
It's partially because he doesn't know if he's allowed to love her back; he's not sure if his parents would allow it. He wants to love her. He thinks he might even love her, sometimes, but he's too afraid to say it out loud (it's too dangerous to love her).
So she says the words (they're so soft, hopeful, as if she wants him to say it back at once) and smiles at him (she has such a beautiful smile). She wraps her arms around his neck, cradling his cheek in her palm, looking at him like she's found the sun.
He doesn't know what to say (because he can't love her, even if he might) so he smiles back at her, loops his arms around her waist, and presses his lips into her hair. He hopes she can hear his confession, his "I love you," but even he can't hear it so he doesn't even know if it exists.
Her hair smells like roses and flowers and so many wonderful things. It's his favorite smell in the world.
She's his poison, his own drug, the one thing he thinks he's addicted to. It's everything about her - her smile, her hair, her laugh, her personality. She's beautiful and sweet and (a little) fucked up but he thinks it might be part of her, her whole appeal.
She's addicted to drugs and he's addicted to her. It's a small difference (such a tiny one) but it's still a difference, and it's still something that needs to get fixed.
The source of the problem is Jeremy Gilbert (he's supplying the drugs; he's not the source, if Tyler's gonna be honest, but he is part of the problem).
He thinks he needs to get rid of Jeremy Gilbert as soon as possible.
If she's presentable, if she isn't on drugs, if she's normal and just... Vicki, his parents will love her and he can admit that he loves her without feeling guilty (he feels so guilty).
He whispers it that night (he actually says it, he really does, and she hears him, too). He says, "You know, I love you, Vick."
She pauses (she's doing something, he can't remember what) but says nothing and he thinks she might be crying, but before he can ask, she's wrapping her arms around him again and she's pressing her face into his shoulder.
He inhales her scent, her roses-and-flowers smell, and breathes it out through his mouth.
"I'm sorry I've been such a dick."
That's one thing he doesn't say out loud (he wants to).
He finds he doesn't care at her funeral. He finds he doesn't even want to care about what his parents think, about his dad's disapproving eyes, his mothers angry glare. He doesn't care.
He stands in front of the casket. It's closed; they say her body was too old, too disfigured, to show to the public. There's a picture of her in a golden frame on top, delicately showered with roses and flowers.
She's smiling in this picture, but it looks off, because it's not her real smile, the one she saved for him.
He breathes in through his nose, wanting to smell her again, thinking as long as her scent was there, she'd be there, too. But there's nothing, only the tangy odor of roses. Everything smells so pungent without her scent.
He stares at her casket for a long time. He doesn't say anything. He's the first one to look at her, one of the last ones to leave.
He spends most of the funeral staring at her picture. She's smiling falsely and her hair is pulled into a bun, unlike the wildly untamed curls she let free with him, but it's still her. She's still there.
He doesn't remember when he leaves. He knows vaguely that people are gone long before he is. He thinks it's late when he leaves.
But he still doesn't say anything. What can he say?
There's nothing to make it right.