Tyler and Josh are quiet, they’re in Tyler’s bunk and although it’s small, it’s dark and quiet enough for Josh’s small whispers of praise and ‘It’s okay’ to make it to Tyler’s ears - sort of. Josh didn’t expect for Tyler to run off in the middle of their interview, it all happened too fast. Tyler slipped from his seat, running out the door and Josh excused himself as he heard rapid footsteps disappearing down the outside hallway.
It took 10 minutes for Josh to find him, in the very last stall in the bathroom and another 10 to get Tyler to leave with him, his hoodie pulled up to cover the tears and Josh’s hands wrapped around his own to both ground him and hide the shaking.
Tyler rarely seemed to have anxiety attacks, he was normally able to take hold of it and Josh wasn’t sure what happened but something happened, and all he knows is that Tyler is his main priority right now. Tyler, who’s unable to breathe because of something the interviewer did. Josh grabs Tyler’s hands and places them on his own cheeks, his thumbs running over his knuckles.
Tyler’s fingers are shaking, Tyler can barely understand what’s happening and he’s scared, he’s so scared but someone’s close to him and there’s something soft under his hands, and all he does understand is that someone is trying to keep him grounded. He’s crying, and Tyler swears to himself it’s never been this bad.
“Tyler, Tyler baby, I’m here. You’re okay. Look at me.” Josh leans over slightly and leaves a kiss to his wrist, it twitches under his lips but Tyler’s looking at him, light reflecting off his tears. There’s very little light, from the part of the curtain that doesn’t close completely. Josh smiles, and reaches one hand out to wipe the tears. Tyler flinches some, but leans into the touch anyway. Josh shifts, interlocking his fingers with his still shaking best friend and pulling him closer so Tyler’s head is pressed against his chest.
Tyler continues crying, trying so hard to catch his breath but it doesn’t work well, closing his eyes and trying to focus on the oddly familiar heartbeat. He guesses maybe it’s Josh, still unsure even though he was able to see him just moments before. Josh closes his own eyes and smiles slightly as Tyler pulls himself closer, small whimpers escaping the lips as he shakes with sobs.
Josh can feel that Tyler’s heartbeat seemed to calm, his fingers rubbing at the exposed skin on his hip where his shirt had ridden up. Tyler inhaled, eyes trying to focus in the dark as he sniffled. Josh’s touches were warm, and he felt bad for wetting his sweatshirt with tears. He relaxed against the embrace, wrapping his arms around Josh’s waist in return. He was still crying, not as anxious and Josh rested his chin on the top of Tyler’s head. It seemed like such an intimate position, but it was seemingly normal for them in a way.
“Joshie?” Tyler whispered, Josh hummed in return and without thinking pressed a small kiss to his head. Tyler tensed before moving, messing with his fingers. Joshua chewed on his cheek, great, he probably just made Tyler to feel worse. Tyler sat next to him, instead laying his head on Josh’s shoulder and sniffling. He sighed, his throat not so tight anymore and his body attempting to relax. “Thank you.” Josh swears to fucking god his heart hurts, because Tyler sounded so broken, so upset - and he knows he’s never heard Tyler like this. Maybe it’s just the outcome of the panic attack he just had, he’ll never seem to know.
“Ty, you don’t need to thank me. What happened?” Tyler sighed, ready to kiss Josh because his head was pounding - and it was obvious his best friend knew, his voice was soft. Tyler’s eyes closed, he couldn’t help but press himself closer to Josh in attempts to get more of his touch. Josh wrapped an arm around his waist, Tyler rested his forehead on Josh’s neck and prayed he couldn’t feel the heat from his face at the closeness.
“Was just thinkin,’” Tyler started messing with Josh’s fingers, inhaling his scent and he felt so much better, so much safer, “‘bout the other day. That interview. She asked what would happen if I hadn’t met you.” Josh inhaled deeply, his hand sliding up to Tyler’s stomach absentmindedly. Tyler shuddered slightly at the warm hand.
“Ty,” Josh whispers, resisting the sudden urge to cry.
“Didn’t think about it much when she asked, but all of a sudden he asked what I meant to you, and just,” Tyler sighed, “It’s stupid.” He pulled away again, Josh reached out and grabbed his wrists, Tyler letting out a startled gasp as he was pulled into Josh’s lap. They were both glad it was dark, Josh’s face burned, Tyler was sure his face was bright red.
“Tyler, it’s not stupid. It’s not, because I probably would’ve been overthinking it as well. It’s not stupid because I know, Ty. You overthink a lot, and that’s okay because I do too and no matter what I love you for it.” Tyler sniffles, he suddenly wishes he could see Josh but he’s in no hurry to change the position, Tyler straddling Josh as he gets closer than they’ve been in a while.
“Josh,” Tyler cries, trying to laugh through it - news flash, it wasn’t really working because God, Josh is cheesy and it’s cliché and so, so sappy and he loves it. His emotions are running wild, they’re so close to each other, and Josh leaves a kiss on his wrist, it’s what he does when Tyler needs comforting. His eyes are still glazed over and red, from crying, and he’s shocked he’s not still shaking.
“No matter what I love you.” Josh repeats, firmer and more confident - Tyler leans down and he kisses Josh’s cheek, not quite bold enough to try for anything more. And Josh takes it, he kisses Tyler’s nose before kissing his lips, not quite realizing his own were chapped until they took place on the other’s. And he can feel the heat from Tyler’s face as Tyler leans into the kiss, the touch, his hands grabbing at Josh’s sweatshirt and Josh’s hands steady on his waist.
Tyler’s neck is craned because of the bunk, it aches a little bit, but he doesn’t mind, his breath heavy as Josh pulls away. Josh smiles, Tyler can feel it, see it in the dark - he laughs, it’s lighthearted and Josh pulls him closer again.
“I love you too,” Tyler says, quiet - “so much.” It’s whispered, he means it.
But Josh knows already, and he’s not the only one smiling.