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"It really was hacked," Tyler says, 45 minutes into the Sound of Music. He's melted somewhat sideways, probably completely transparent from the beginning but he's 21 years old, he's got to at least pretend to not need anyone else for 10 goddamn minutes.

She doesn't say anything, just smooths her hand over the pillow in her lap that he knows, he knows was put there just for him. He wants to be cranky and not take it because he doesn't need it, okay, he actually doesn't. He didn't even try to hug Brownie after he helped carry the last bookcase in because he doesn't need it. 21 isn't 17, though, and he doesn't need to act like a dick here of all places, he doesn't need to act like a child, so he takes it, finally tilting all the way sideways. "I didn't," he says, and she still says nothing, her cool fingers scratching on the back of his neck. He shuts his eyes, the tv flashing behind them, and turns his nose further into the pillow.

He totally doesn't fucking cry when Maria goes back to the Abbey, when she walks away.

"I didn't - " he starts again, stopping because his voice sounds awful, whiny and muffled, but she just shushes him, pushing her fingers further into his hair. "I know. I believe you." And Tyler doesn't feel 17, or 21, or the 35 he's apparently supposed to have been this past year; he feels pretty much nothing but 6 years old right now, just so tired with this fucked-up wonderland of awful, amazing bizarro-adulthood he gets to have and to carry around with him.

"I believe you, baby," she says again, as the children rush to greet the returning Maria on the lawn.

Tyler closes his eyes, kind of stupidly grateful for this calm simplicity he somehow still gets to have, still gets to seek out and curl up in. He knows she knows. She grabbed the pillow not 10 minutes into the movie, okay, he's transparent, can't keep much of it from his face or his game. She knows.

His dickass friends felt the need to tell twitter what his mother doesn't even need him to say out loud in the living room.

Tyler rolls his shoulders back into the couch, leaning his head against her stomach and curling his arms underneath him as she squeezes his shoulder, running her nails across the top. "Whether or not you should," she hums under her breath along with the Captain, soft and familiar behind him. He felt more in danger helping Brownie unload moving boxes than he feels while flying men on blades regularly slam into him and so he acknowledges his depth perception on danger is a little bit off, but Tyler feels safer curled here, 21 and needing someone and peeking over the edge of the couch at the tv, than he has in years.

He's too warm, dozing sad and lonely and content in his mother's lap when she runs her hand over his forehead as nobody behind the gravestone in the Abbey dares to breathe. "I love you, baby." He's 6 and 21, 17 and 35, scared even now with his head beneath her stroking hands, and he tells her he loves her back, and breathes.