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Rites and Rituals

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“Hurts!” Tyler thrashed on the bed, arching up in pain and whimpering, his cheeks and temples were wet with tears as he pulled hard on the padded zebra print (thank you Reid) handcuffs holding him in place.

“Shhh,” Reid cupped a hand over Tyler’s sweaty, tear-stained cheek, hiding his discomfort at how hot it burned under his skin. “We’re all here, baby boy.”

Tyler opened his mouth to reply but it was cut off in a choke as his head flopped back against the pillows. His hands grabbed futilely at the chains of the handcuffs as he struggled for air that stuttered in and out of him in a sharp, weak, wet sound. His wide blue eyes were fixated on the ceiling as he writhed in agony on the bed, legs kicking against the mattress with what leeway they had from their own bonds.

“He’s burning up,” Pouge mumbled, fingers skirting over Tyler’s forehead and through his hair. The youngest’s body was covered in sweat, it glistened on his bare chest and clung to the deep blue sweatpants he was left wearing.

“C-c-can’t.” Tyler stuttered out, his eyes slamming shut as he howled in pain to the empty-of-all-but-them Danvers household. “S’too much. I can’t...”

“Shhh...” Caleb hushed Tyler, dragging ice chips over Tyler’s parted lips and down over his neck and chest in a way that would have been erotic if it weren’t for the situation. “Only five more minutes, baby boy, I promise.”

“No.” Tyler whimpered, trying to curl in on himself, he was pulling hard with his right arm, so hard Reid was worried he would split the skin and bleed. “No more.”

“C’mon, Ty. We’re almost there.” Reid forced a smile, his hand settling over Tyler’s heart which was being triple-time, stuttering and fumbling to try and keep pace.

Pouge stood from the bed, a hand scrubbing over the back of his neck, feeling stressed. He looked out the window into the blustery Salem snow, where it was thundering and flickering with lightning ominously. He squeezed his eyes shut and turned from the bed and crossed his arms over his chest, agitated.

“We’re here for him, Pouge,” Caleb’s voice sounded gently as he wrapped his arms around Pouge in a light embrace. This was hard on all of them.

“I just... I can’t bare to see him like that.” Pouge mumbled, turning in Caleb’s arms.

“None of us can.”

A scream ripped through the room as a brilliant flash of lightning illuminated everything from the outside and Pouge and Caleb turned to look at the bed. Reid was standing at the foot of it, his arm limply outstretched to offer help as Tyler’s back arched off the bed in an almost perfect bow. The youngest’s toes were gripped hard to the foot-board and his hands were pressed palm flat in an angle that looked excruciating to the headboard.

Caleb’s eyes flicked to the bedside table and the digital clock which bore the time 3:43 AM impassively in faint blue. Right on time.

Tyler’s screams cut off midstream and his body fell heavily against the bed in a rush of air and groaning wood. Reid broke from the other two and knelt on the bed, his hands trembling as he rested them against Tyler’s cheeks. His face was damp and clammy, rapidly cooling from the fever and Reid bit his lip as he pressed his fingers against Tyler’s neck looking for a pulse.

Tyler was still.

Caleb and Pouge joined Reid in vigil. Reid took the handcuffs from the bedposts and took one of Tyler’s limp hands in both of his and squeezed. This was always the hardest part. The question of - will it take - can they make it.

“C’mon baby boy.” Reid pressed soft kisses to Tyler’s fingers. “You can do this.”

Pouge took Tyler’s other hand, holding it tightly as Caleb squeezed his upper arm in wordless, unwavering support. Pouge didn’t know what to say, he just ducked his head, pressing his forehead against Tyler’s knuckles in a pleading vigil.

Caleb watched the clock. One minute. Two minutes. Three minutes.

Come on Tyler. Come on...

Four minutes.


Five minutes.

A choke startled out of Tyler’s throat and he gasped, making wet, wheezing noises as his body restarted and he tried to remember how to breathe.

“Did it...” Tyler’s voice came out thick and slurred, he swallowed, coughed and tried again. “Did it work?”

Reid let out a joyous laugh and pressed his mouth lightly to Tyler’s tasting the salt of his sweat and tears as he pulled the youngest against his body. “Happy eighteenth, baby boy.”

Tyler’s mouth curved up in a smile and he rose a hand to scrub over his eye. He squinted his eye open, it flickered black briefly within the blue and he rose a brow. “Why do I have zebra handcuffs on?”

Caleb chuckled and climbed on the bed along with Pouge and Reid. “Just rest, baby boy.”

Tyler smiled lazily and nodded his head in agreement, yawning widely as he settled into the embrace of the three other Sons. “‘Kay.”