His senses are overwhelmed, his mind heart beating faster than it had not a minute ago, and he feels light-headed, like a single movement would throw off any equilibrium he has left. He knows it is a sad day, or, at least, it should be, in theory. His father is dead and his best friend's girlfriend is lying in a hospital bed, through no one's fault but his own.

But Jeremy Gilbert is standing in front of him, the picture of sympathy, and something inside of him sighs in content, and then sends him into the internal frenzy in which he finds himself. He can't explain it, but for some reason the youngest Gilbert evokes a reaction from him lately, a reaction so unique, so foreign, that he doesn't know how to process it, let alone interpret it.

He has felt bits and pieces of it before, all stemming from different people, but never all at once. As embarrassing as it is to admit, especially considering where he fits into the social hierarchy of Mystic Falls, he feels the lust that once burned every part of his body when in the presence of Vicki. He feels the safety that his mother, Carol, provides in her few sober moments. He wants to impress him like he once wanted to impress his father. When he is with Matt, the sense of brotherhood he feels with blonde is ten times stronger for the younger brunette.

He can go through and somehow attach every emotion he feels to someone else, except for one that he can't identify. To be completely honest, in his gut, even on a logical level, he knows what the feeling is. Tyler Lockwood knows that the knots in his stomach, the smile that slips across his face, the pang in his chest at the thought of not seeing Jeremy (or the humongous gut-punch he feels when he learns of the failed suicide attempt) can all be rolled into one thing: love.

So when Jeremy shows up to his father's wake, a day that should be sad, even though the man that was being honored was a deplorable violent person, he feels happy. When his uncle all but throws Jeremy out of the room, his happiness quickly turns to anger, and he can feel something change inside, a feeling he has only ever gotten when angry or in a rage. His uncle looks taken aback at first, then sad, and when Mason Lockwood looks from him to the door that Jeremy had exited through moments ago, understanding blooms across his face, and the trademark Lockwood smirk ensnares his lips.

Tyler doesn't know what to make of it at first, but then confronts his uncle.

"What's so amusing," he asks, his face heating.

"Nothing," responds his uncle as he puts his hands up as if to show no threat. A smile breaks out across his uncle's face, this one much nicer than before.

"So you're sweet on Gilbert," Mason asks.

Tyler can feel his heartbeat go erratic (he would swear that Mason's smile gets bigger as this happens) and the blush painting his face doesn't help make the denials anymore believable. His responses don't sound convincing even to his own ears.

Mason just shakes his head and laughs. He looks at Tyler, his face going soft for a moment, and then takes a seat next to his flustered nephew. Tyler prepares another round lies, but the look he is receiving and the hand on his shoulder destroys his resolve.

"I'm not gay," Tyler throws out, his head bowed, jaw clenched.

"I don't think you are," says Mason. "But you should know that whatever you feel for him is real.'

He looks at Mason, ready to argue his sexuality, but the seriousness in his face prompts him to question his uncle further, but before he can get a word out, his uncle rises and goes to the door. Before leaving, he turns to Tyler, and delivers a cryptic message.

"One day, sadly one day soon, you will understand why this is happening. It won't make sense now, it probably won't make sense until something happens that will make everything clear," Mason said, his face becoming pained.

Tyler opens his mouth to ask what he means, but Mason merely holds his hand up and shakes his head.

"I know I'm not making sense, I wish your father was here to explain what I will have to, he was much better at controlling himself. I'm getting off topic, kiddo. What I meant to say: don't get hung up on denying what you're feeling. It is real, trust me, it is real."

~(*)~(*)~(*)~

Tyler sits in the study a bit longer, trying not to dwell on his uncle's words or his hasty exit. After a bit he figures it is time for him to go out and do the rounds. He walks to the backyard of the estate and takes in the scene. People, most of whom he has only ever seen, never spoken with, loiter around, mingling and no doubt discussing his father's mysterious death. He hears their kind words about the man he loved yet hated.

He muses that his father is probably looking up from his final resting place, delighting in the turn out he received. Fed up with the whole situation, Tyler turns to walk inside when he spots the object of his affection by the main gate.

Tyler doesn't dwell on the automatic smile that spreads across his face, nor does he hide the enraged look that takes hold when he spots a girl hanging all over his Gilbert. That thought alone that crosses his mind should slap him out of it, but instead he embraces it.

His eyes burn, not with tears, but with a sensation he has only ever experienced two nights ago. He feels something stretch inside of him, something that tells him that Jeremy Gilbert belongs to him, only him, and that he himself belongs only to the troubled teen.

In that moment, Tyler Lockwood, who doesn't entirely understand what is going on, decides to make it his mission, his creed, to get Jeremy Gilbert by his side.

Looking at him, Tyler's mind only has one word running through it: MINE.

AN: If you like it, and think I should continue, then please leave a review. It won't take very long! Also, feel free to check out my Matt/Jeremy story, and tell me what you think of that. Thanks!