Disclaimer: The Vampire Diaries does not belong to me. If it did, Jeremy and Tyler would be canon boyfriends, the cutest dang couple in the whole of Mystic Falls.
Thank you Saltzatore for betaing - AGAIN - you keep me sane.
"Alaric will kill me if he finds out I took this," Jeremy says, as he places another arrow in the crossbow.
"Do you even know what you're doing?"
Tyler laughs, all fluid grace, as Jeremy pulls back the bow. "He taught me. He just doesn't know how much practise I'm getting." He lines the shot up, releases the trigger. The shot is perfect, meets the exact centre of the tree trunk.
"Nice." It's almost a compliment. "Can you hit a moving target?"
Jeremy shrugs. "Maybe Bonnie could spell the trees to start running around."
"Use me," Tyler says.
"Not gonna shoot you, man," Jeremy laughs.
"You can't shoot me. You couldn't if you tried. I'll catch it. C'mon." Tyler starts to duck and weave between the trees, and Jeremy laughs, shaking his head.
Serious, then, he starts to line up the shot, as Tyler moves too fast to be believed. Not even worth trying, but Jeremy tries, anticipates a zig correctly, and a zag that goes too far. He's spent enough time playing video games with Tyler to anticipate the move.
He fires the shot and Tyler catches the arrow before it can pierce his heart, but he catches it over his heart. His eyebrows raise in tandem. "Nice, Gilbert," he says. "Would have got me."
A drop of water hits Jeremy's face, and he looks up. "Gonna rain," he says. "I'd better start moving."
Tyler shrugs, pulling arrows from the tree. The rain starts to come down hard.
"I have to go, Ty," Jeremy says, pulling his hood over his head. "Now."
Tyler lags, still, arranging the arrows neatly in the sheath, even as Jeremy wrenches it from his grasp. "Come on," he says, hoisting it over his shoulder.
It's really coming down, fine fat drops like marbles. Even jogging hard they're twenty minutes from the car, easily. Tyler keeps pace alongside Jeremy until Jeremy slips in mud that was dirt a moment ago. He screams, as his ankle turns beneath him, and then bites it back.
"Fuck," he says, as he drags himself up again, lightening illuminating the whole sky for long moments, everything too much, too bright, and then darker again. "Where did this come from?"
He's wrenched his ankle. It feels broken, though he knows it's not, and he's not gonna bitch in front of a werepire. Or whatever they're calling themselves now.
"Come on," Tyler says, taking the crossbow and the arrows. "We're not that far from the old slave quarters."
He has to half-drag Jeremy, who is struggling to keep on his feet, ankle screaming, long eyelashes catching every drop of water until he can barely see. Jeremy lopes alongside Tyler and prays he can trust him not to propel him into a rock or down the stone stairs and into the slave quarters. For a mad minute he fights the urge to remind Tyler he's breakable.
Trust is a solid option, when it's the only option.
Tyler yanks him back, suddenly. "Idiot. The steps are slippery," he says, and then he's holding Jeremy's arm until Jeremy's hand connects with the wall, and he is able to guide himself down. The wind whistles angry and wretched past the entrance, and the air is ice-cold. Halfway down, Jeremy sinks to the ground.
"Nothing." Jeremy drags himself to his feet, pulling himself along by both hands, reluctant to put any weight on his foot at all. He drags himself down a few more steps, rain whipped by the wind still soaking into the back of his jacket. The thunder boils overhead.
"Come on." Tyler loops a hand around Jeremy's waist shrugs under his arm. He half carries him the rest of the way down the stairs, around the corner into the cage, and lowers him gently to the ground. It's freezing, but it's not as bad as it was when they were still exposed.
Tyler starts to pull Jeremy's jacket off him, and Jeremy resists. "Fuckin' freezing, man," he says.
"Mine's warmer." Tyler takes his own jacket off and passes it over. Jeremy looks suspiciously at it. "I don't need it. Wolf, remember?"
Jeremy grunts, and pulls the wool-lined coat on. It is warm. And warmed, too, by Tyler's body. Tyler sinks to the ground, then, loops his arms over his knees.
Jeremy pulls up the leg of his jeans and winces. He unlaces his shoe and pulls it off, rolls his sock down carefully. "Fuck," he breathes. The ankle is a mess, black already, swollen. His hands are cold so he closes them over it, willing the cold to be enough to bring down the swelling.
Tyler's eyes take it all in. "That hurt?"
Jeremy shrugs. "It's fine."
"Doesn't look fine."
Jeremy tries to turn it, and winces again.
"This sucks," he says, unnecessarily, and lets his eyes close. "How long do you think the rain can last?"
The room is partially illuminated for a moment, and two seconds later, the thunder hits.
"It's still getting closer," Tyler says. "Who knows?" His eyes never leave Jeremy's ankle.
"You're not – hungry, are you?" Trapped with a werewolf-vampire with no other source of food for miles, Jeremy realises this could be bad. Tyler shakes his head.
They are silent a long moment, and then Tyler nods towards Jeremy's ankle. "I could fix it," he says, quietly.
Their eyes meet. "What do you mean, fix it?"
Tyler shrugs. "My blood. You know. The healing thing."
Jeremy is suddenly grateful for the oversized jacket covering his lap. The thought of drinking from Tyler is… a bit much. "It'll be fine."
"So once the rain's finished, you'll just walk three miles back to the road, easy."
Tyler makes a disgusted sound in the back of his throat. "Fine. Forget I offered." He climbs to his feet and heads to the door.
"Wait, Ty. Don't – you're not gonna leave me down here, are you?"
Tyler has to fight to conceal a smile. "Care brought a pile of blankets down here. Months ago. When I still had to change." He's back, long moments later, and throws the blankets to Jeremy. Grateful, Jeremy wraps himself up, but his clothes are soaked through, and he still shivers.
He climbs partially to his feet, to wrap the blankets properly, and cries out when he puts part of his weight on the bad ankle.
"Jesus, Gilbert. Don't be an idiot."
Jeremy meets Tyler's eye just as his face changes, just as his eyes blacken, as his capillaries engorge, and Jeremy should be terrified, but he's not. His hand shoots out before he can stop it, and rests up against Tyler's jaw, testing the change in cant.
Tyler freezes, unsure.
Jeremy's thumb traces up the side of Tyler's face, tests the skin beneath Tyler's eyes. The fine tracework of veins is slightly raised, just enough to feel. Jeremy traces the pattern to where it disappears, halfway down Tyler's cheek.
He should stop. Tyler should stop him, laugh, call him a faggot. But.
Jeremy shifts his hand again, traces Tyler's lips. The teeth feel strange beneath them. Tyler lets his lips fall open, just a touch, and Jeremy's index finger slips inside, testing a fang. It's sharp, and pierces Jeremy's finger. He winces, but then Tyler's mouth closes over it, sucking gently, cautious eyes still on Jeremy.
Jeremy can't help himself. "What does it taste like?"
This seems like dangerous ground.
Tyler bites, a little, breaking the skin further, but Jeremy remains still, his ankle forgotten, his breath getting a little faster, a little shallower. Tyler's eyelids get heavy and flutter closed, the expression on his face almost ecstatic. This is not like the time Anna bit him; this is something else. When Anna bit him, his cock didn't twitch, his lips didn't swell.
Jeremy lets his finger fall from Tyler's mouth, but Tyler catches his hand, brings Jeremy's wrist to his lips. His eyes find Jeremy's again. Seeking permission, perhaps, or condemnation. His eyes narrow.
Jeremy hesitates, and nods.
Tyler runs his tongue over the skin, unnecessarily, before biting down, hooking elegant fangs into Jeremy's wrist; tentative, and then less tentative. Jeremy winces, but he doesn't pull away, and doesn't want to. It's an odd feeling, blood drawn slowly and with no small degree of awe, Tyler looking turned on and tuned out. The lips, moving slowly.
Jeremy wants those lips against his.
Finally, Tyler pulls away. "Sorry," he says, sweeping long eyelashes down and away. "I didn't mean for that to happen." Such a strange expression. Tyler carries so much anger, barely constrained energy bouncing around those taut muscles. Now, he looks nervous, sheepish.
Jeremy wraps a hand around the injured wrist. "It's okay." A little blood seeps between his fingers, and drips from the bitten finger. "When will it stop bleeding?"
Tyler meets his eyes again. "Depends. I can…" He holds his own wrist out. "Fix your ankle, too. Have you ever had vampire blood?"
Yeah. A little vial of it. I used it to wash down a fuckload of my sister's pain killers. "No," he says, because he can remember very little of that night anyway. "What will happen?"
Tyler hesitates. "It'll be weird, man. It's sort of like a drug. So don't take too much." He bites into his wrist before Jeremy is sure he's agreed.
Jeremy still has his right hand wrapped around his left wrist so Tyler holds the back of Jeremy's head in place. At least, that's how it starts. It starts like he's holding Jeremy still, but moments later, his hand is tangled – tangled – in Jeremy's hair, and his eyes hold Jeremy's, unblinking, nervous, licking his lips.
Jeremy realises there is a long drip of blood trickling down his chin. He pulls away from Tyler's wrist.
Tyler peels Jeremy's fingers away from his wrist. "All better," he says, and yes, the wound has knit shut.
"Yeah," Jeremy breathes. Tyler reaches for the bottom of the leg of Jeremy's jeans, lifts it a few inches.
"Ankle's fine, too. Should we…?"
Jeremy shrugs. "I dunno, man."
Tyler stills. "It's still raining."
"Alaric'll think I'm stoned." Jeremy nods. "Maybe…"
"We should stay. Until it stops." Tyler leans against the wall again. "Are you? Stoned?"
Jeremy considers. The colours are a little too sharp; the smells are a little too strong, too distinct. He is distinctly aware of the very edges of his skin, where he ends, where the rest of the world begins.
Actually, when he thinks about it, it's like fireworks going off in his brain. He lets his eyes drift shut, listens to the sound of the rain, creatures scuttling for safety on the forest floor above them; condensation dripping down the walls in the cell. He stretches the bones in his hands. They are his hands, but they are also not, move in a slightly alien way.
"I'll take that as a yes," Tyler says.
"I guess," Jeremy says, and there is a brief rush of air. When he opens his eyes, Tyler's face is less than a foot from his own.
"What's it like?" Tyler's eyes are narrowed, scrutinising Jeremy's expression. Jeremy blinks lazily.
"Nothing," Jeremy says. "It's like nothing else." He doesn't think twice, clasps his hands around the back of Tyler's neck. "You don't know?"
Tyler should be pulling away, should be kicking Jeremy in the ribs, but he's miraculously still, almost motionless, in a way that Tyler is never still. Eyes flickering from Jeremy's eyes to his lips, and then back again, but otherwise, holding steady.
The blood dripping down Jeremy's chin continues its slow trail south.
"Tell me," Tyler says. "Describe it."
Jeremy lets his eyes close again, vaguely aware that Tyler has shifted his knees apart, settled between them, his hands on Jeremy's hips. "I can hear things," he says, as Tyler's tongue collects the drip, chasing it all the way to Jeremy's mouth. "I can…" and then he can't, can't speak, anyway, because Tyler has his bottom lip between his teeth, biting down gently, sucking on it. Jeremy feels the fangs pierce his skin, and moans, low in his throat. Lets his eyes open again. He's expecting to find Tyler's eyes closed, so Tyler can pretend this isn't happening – Tyler pretends like no one else can – but his eyes are open, sharp. Red-black and predatory. Jeremy runs a finger over those tiny veins again, and Tyler doesn't move.
Maybe it's the blood, maybe it's the storm. Jeremy feels suddenly bold, leans in to kiss Tyler properly. Maybe it's the blood, maybe it's the storm, but Tyler lets him; opens his mouth, withdrawing his fangs, kisses back. All tongue and lips, all want and need and urgency. What Jeremy wants, what he's wanted forever, since long before they both started fucking Vicki as a substitute for what they both actually wanted.
And then Tyler is the aggressor, pushing further, panting slightly, pulling Jeremy closer, angling their hips together, shifting them an inch at a time until Jeremy is almost under him.
Tyler's face is buried in Jeremy's neck, almost violent; teeth, not fangs, but rough. Terrified. Jeremy moans again, running his hands under Tyler's shirt, trying to pull it away. "Will you be cold?"
Tyler stiffens, suddenly, and starts to draw back. "Jesus," he says.
Jeremy hoists himself onto his elbows. "What? Don't freak out, man," he says. "It's cool."
Tyler sits up, pulling away. "It's not cool. This isn't me," he says. "Must be the… wolf-thing, or the vamp-thing, or…"
Or the other-thing, the thing we've been dancing around since we were old enough to know what our pricks were for, Jeremy thinks, but doesn't say. Maybe it's like the time we shared Vicki, and you accidentally kissed me and then almost broke my jaw afterwards.
But instead he lies back, covers his eyes with the back of his arm. "Fine," he says. "Let's just go."
"It's still raining."
"We'll survive." Jeremy picks up his sock, starts to pull it on. It's wet and cold and his foot resists.
"I'm not gay," Tyler says, and Jeremy shrugs. "I'm serious, Jer. I like women."
"So do I," Jeremy says. "So do Damon and Alaric, but it doesn't stop them from goin' at it in Alaric's room every second night." His ankle is healed, but it still aches, as he starts to put his shoe back on. "I don't know why you're so weird about this."
Tyler stands, paces. Stalks like a caged animal. "Because," he says.
"Are you twelve? What sort of a reason is that?" Jeremy's actually angry, now. And his fingers are so cold he can't lace his shoe. Plus there are still fireworks going off in his head. The sounds of the forest, the soft footsteps Tyler makes as he paces. The smell of the rain, of vegetation waking up. The strange shapes of the shadows when the lightning illuminates the room. Before he knows what he's doing or why he's thrown his shoe across the room, and it hits the wall, hard, before dropping with a pathetic thud onto the ground.
Tyler turns to watch it, and then looks back at Jeremy with an amused frown.
"And I'm twelve?"
Jeremy wants to lash out. Wants to kick Tyler, wants to punch a wall, wants to find something to funnel all this pent up energy into. Instead, he laughs. "Nah, man. You're just a dick."
Suddenly Tyler is over him, straddling him. "I have no idea what I'm doing, Gilbert," he says.
This is a surprise; not what he's confessing to but the fact he's confessing it at all. Tyler Lockwood, clueless. It's a good look for him. Jeremy nods. "It's cool, man. I know what I'm doing."
Tyler breathes hard, holding Jeremy's eyes. Waiting to be laughed at, perhaps, waiting for an excuse to take a swing. Their faces are inches apart. Where Tyler's arms lie framing Jeremy's face Jeremy can feel heat radiate from them; interesting. More wolf than vampire, then; Anna was always a little cold.
Jeremy raises his hands, runs them over Tyler's ribs, down to his hips. "It's cool," he says again.
Tyler looks like punching Jeremy still isn't out of the question, but he closes the last few inches between them, kissing him again instead; and in combination with every cell in Jeremy's body so utterly alive with Tyler's blood, it is perfect, perfect. The sense that this is going to happen at last, the sense that they're actually going to advance the plot this time, and stop dancing around it, perfect. Jeremy pulls Tyler's body down on top of his, hips in alignment, bathing in the warmth of Tyler's body, all too perfect.
"You're warm," Jeremy breathes, as Tyler starts to grind down, getting carried away. "I mean, you're really warm," he adds. "Might not die of hypothermia down here after all." He holds the back of Tyler's neck, runs his fingers up into Tyler's hair. Tyler sits back, pulling his t-shirt over this head, and Jeremy does the same.
Tyler doesn't want to run appreciative eyes over Jeremy's arms and chest, but he does it. Jeremy laughs. "What were you expecting? Just because I don't play football?"
Tyler shrugs, tracing the line of muscle that runs into Jeremy's jeans. "I seriously have no fucking idea what I'm doing, Jer. So if you do…"
Oh, too perfect.
"Yeah. It's cool," Jeremy says again, and Tyler starts to look like he's not entirely freaked out, just mostly. "We'll go slow. It's cool."
Jeremy sits up, and they are both on their knees, and Jeremy reaches for Tyler's belt, cautious. Tyler watches him still, eyes slightly narrowed, like he's half expecting this is some prank; like any second half the football team is going to jump out with their camera phones out and yell 'surprise!'
Jeremy turns them, pushes Tyler down onto the ground. Tucks Tyler's own jacket under his head. "What are you doing?" Tyler murmurs, so turned on by now his eyes have gone lidded.
"Relaxing you," Jeremy says, as he pulls Tyler's jeans down over his hips. "You need to chill a bit." He kisses Tyler's mouth again as he starts to stroke, long and slow, more familiar ground; Tyler knows how this goes, that's for sure, he's probably had hundreds of hand jobs; rumour has it Tina Fell gave him one in the girls' locker room in the middle of a match once because Tyler said it would improve his performance.
Tyler's never had a hand job from another guy, though, not someone who knows what it's like to get one, who knows all the best places to squeeze, how much of a twist is just enough and how much is too much. He starts to rock into Jeremy's hand.
Jeremy pulls his mouth away from Tyler's kisses his way down Tyler's body – good, his nipples are sensitive, one flicker with Jeremy's tongue and Tyler's whole body rolls – scraping teeth over Tyler's abs, swirling a tongue across his stomach, inhaling deeply at his public hair, a faintly animal smell; clean sweat and sex.
"Fuck, Jer -"
Slowly, first, because Tyler's about to go off like a rocket in Jeremy's hand, and Jeremy's not going to give him an excuse to decide he's done – or worse, get embarrassed about coming too fast – and punch Jeremy, and storm away. No. If Jeremy gets a fist to the jaw today it's going to be with the knowledge he's been the first person ever to fuck Tyler Lockwood in the ass. No doubt once Tyler stops hating himself there will be plenty of others, but Jeremy will always be first.
No. He's taking his time.
He takes the very tip of Tyler's cock into his mouth, while his hand still works the base, while Tyler's hips continue to roll. The flavour of pre-ejaculate is delicate as ever but so much more complex, now Jeremy can smell and taste everything, and he lets his lips and tongue clamp down hard, tugging at the head – no girl can know just how this is done – until Tyler starts to squirm hard beneath him, holding tight to Jeremy's hair, anchoring him in place, until Jeremy takes him in a little more, an inch at a time. Tyler battles not to thrust up but it's a fight he loses, as Jeremy opens his throat, takes in all of him at once.
Jeremy smiles, sucks harder, runs his tongue down the vein on the underside of Tyler's cock, moves his hand to massage Tyler's balls. Still taking his time, still slow, almost torturous. Tyler's hand in his hair tenses and relaxes almost unconsciously, until Jeremy feels hair pulled from his head, and Tyler comes almost without warning, hot, salty jets Jeremy swallows and just keeps swallowing, until Tyler's hips stop twitching and relax back onto the woollen blanket.
Jeremy sits back, runs the back of his hand over his mouth. Watches Tyler's face for a long moment, the ecstatic tics that cross his features. He trails his fingers over the insides of Tyler's thighs, and Tyler starts to roll his hips again. Jeremy leans to run his tongue over the pale flesh there, and Tyler tries to lift himself onto his elbows.
"Roll over," Jeremy says. Tyler narrows his eyes. "Do you trust me?"
Tyler seems to consider this a moment, and then nods; and rolls over.
Tyler's body is… beautiful. His muscles are strong, standing out against taut flesh, his torso a perfect triangle, usually disappearing frustratingly into his jeans, but naked now, perfectly nude and pliant and maybe it's the blood, maybe it's the storm, maybe Jeremy's just a natural, but he knows exactly how to handle this body.
Jeremy stands for a moment to get his own jeans off, to free the erection which is now beyond physically uncomfortable. On the ground again he straddles Tyler's hips, lowers himself until he can kiss Tyler's neck. Tyler moans, stretching it out a little, pulse like the pulse of a bird beneath Jeremy's lips. Yes, trusting. Maybe to Tyler, that just means that if either of them ever tells a soul about this, they're both sunk; but Jeremy tells himself there's more to it than that. When Tyler's not punching him, they do share an affection, odd as that affection might be, and they've bonded over dead fathers and over Vicki and over a shared ability to draw terrifying monsters, and to befriend them, too. Maybe it is a real trust.
Jeremy hopes so.
He runs his hand down Tyler's spine, and follows it with mouth and tongue, all the way to the dip at the base of Tyler's spine, just above his ass. Tyler tenses.
"Relax, man," Jeremy whispers. "You're gonna love this," and he spreads the cheeks of Tyler's ass gently, runs lips and the barest amount of tongue over Tyler's rim.
Tyler doesn't relax, he tries to get to his elbows. "What are…"
"Relax," Jeremy says again, and this time, Tyler does; slowly, terrified, maybe, because this is no quick fuck in the bathroom at the grill or in Caroline Forbes' closet during a game of seven minutes in heaven, because this is giving up control, because this is the weird Gilbert kid giving Tyler his first rim job.
Tyler is hard again; has to twist his hips a little to make room. No problem; Jeremy grips him hard, keeps working at Tyler's rim with his eager little mouth, with a too-practised tongue.
Tyler reaches for his jacket, for his wallet. Always carries lube and a condom because you never know when you're gonna get lucky. He tears the little packet open and smears some on his fingers. Tyler half sits up, peering over his shoulder, eyes blown black, scared and turned on like no one has ever seen him.
"I don't wanna hurt you," Jeremy says.
"I'm a hybrid, Gilbert. You couldn't if you tried."
"That's not what I meant. Just. Tell me. If I go too fast."
"Just get on with it," Tyler says, but it's not bravado, it's nerves.
Working Tyler's cock with his right hand, Jeremy breaches him with one neatly slicked finger, just past the first knuckle, and Tyler tries to pull himself to his elbows again, but Jeremy, having some degree of skill with the male anatomy, presses the finger gently against Tyler's prostate, eliciting a moan, a series of expletives, and express permission to "just fuck me, Jeremy." It's just about the best thing Jeremy's ever heard, but he takes his time anyway. By the time he's two fingers deep in Tyler's ass and Tyler is fucking himself back hard against Jeremy's fingers, Jeremy can't wait any more.
He takes a moment to roll the condom on, and then carefully, an inch at a time (difficult to manage with Tyler writhing beneath him, pushing back), he's all the way in. Tyler is hot and tight around him, bucking back, rolling his hips hard up against Jeremy's cock and then rocking into his hand, half trying to push himself up onto his elbows, half collapsed against the woollen blanket (and thank god Caroline was a good girlfriend, because the floor is cold and wet beneath them, and the blankets are a welcome barrier, if a distracting pink-orange colour). Jeremy drops kisses over Tyler's shoulder, and against his jaw, aware that Tyler has vamped out again, and without thinking about it, he offers Tyler his wrist.
And that's how they come, almost at the same time. Jeremy curved over Tyler's back, one hand on Tyler's cock and his other arm wrapped around Tyler's shoulders so Tyler can drink from his wrist. Tyler throws his head back at the last moment and shouts as he unspools, relaxing at last, floundering so beautifully.
Perfect, too perfect. They lie together like that for a long moment, until Jeremy's sadly softening cock begins to make its escape and he has to deal with the aftermath. When he turns around again, Tyler has rolled over to face him.
There won't be any cuddling. Jeremy's not an idiot. If he gets out of this basement without Tyler clocking him one in the jaw he'll be shocked.
But Tyler holds his eyes for longer than he expected, and speaks, and when he does, he says; "That wasn't even that weird."
Jeremy snorts. "Uh… thanks?"
Tyler doesn't smile. He leans and kisses Jeremy again, cautiously. Runs an equally cautious hand over Jeremy's arm. Catches the wrist he bit into and checks it has healed. And then he sits up.
"I think I'm fucked up, man," he says.
"You're not. There's nothing wrong with this." Jeremy shakes his head. "Go call Damon a fag and see what he does to you."
"That's not even what I mean." He stands up to dress, and Jeremy does the same, sitting on a rock to put his shoes on. Tyler crouches in front of him for a moment. "That bracelet."
Jeremy holds his wrist up. "Vervain," he says, and Tyler tears it off, as Jeremy's eyes dilate in fear.
"Sit still," Tyler says. "Listen to me."
He's shaking hard. Can't believe he's doing this. He'd said he wouldn't, he knows he did. Jeremy's eyes are wide and dull.
"Klaus will call you one day soon and when he does, you have to take your ring off, and do exactly what he tells you to do."
Tears blur Tyler's eyes but he can't stop talking. "This, today, this never happened. You won't remember any of it. We were mucking around with Alaric's crossbow and we came down here to get out of the rain." But he wants Jeremy to remember, wants them both to. Fuck. Everything is so unfair. "You won't notice your bracelet is gone. You won't touch vervain, not until after Klaus calls you." He'll be fine, he'll be fine, this is not a big deal. Klaus won't hurt him, won't hurt anyone. He promised.
"Sit on the ground. Lean against that rock. And snap out of it."
Jeremy slips to the ground. Shakes his head and flinches. "The fuck?" He looks around. "Where are we?"
"You don't remember?" Relief, or something like it, floods Tyler's mind.
Jeremy turns his head, like he's trying to get it back. "Nah, man, I…"
"You fell over out there. You hit your head."
"It's… raining?" Jeremy runs a hand over his head. "I feel like… are we stoned?" He blinks, hard.
"I had to give you a bit of blood," Tyler says, and his heart is full of rocks and lies. "I think you're alright. You were different before."
Jeremy leans against the rock and it occurs to Tyler that they could do it all again, and this time, he'd let Jeremy remember, but he can't. Can't, or won't, or shouldn't. Something, there's something.
"Has the rain stopped?"
"It's not heavy any more. We can go." He helps Jeremy to his feet. Jeremy presses his fingers to his mouth, like his lips bear an imprint he can't make sense of.
"I feel… weird," he says. He casts an odd look at the pile of blankets. "Whatever. Let's just go."
Jeremy looks more naked and vulnerable without that bracelet on than Tyler every felt beneath him. He wants to hand it back, but something stays his hand. But it's right. Right?
It's what Klaus wants, and that's what matters most. And Klaus will protect them all.