"Ty, don't you dare be an idiot. Smile and get on with your life," Devon said. Her smile might have been small but it lit up her face and she looked angelic as always. In fact- she looked more angelic thanks to the light that seemed to surround her and make her glow. As her hand brushed his cheek, the skin warmed. He yearned for her and couldn't help wrap his arms around her, pulling her to him into a bear hug like she had always loved. He shuddered and found himself gulping, burying his head in her shoulder. Why? Even in his dream, he knew it was a dream and he was all too aware that he would wake up to see his Devon was gone. These dreams seemed to be the only breakaway from the daily torture he seemed to be dragging himself through. He could forget and spend his time with her here and that's all he wanted and needed. He wondered briefly why he couldn't stay here where he was better off.
"You don't understand, Dumpling. I can't do this, I can't go back there," Tyler breathed. It felt so realistic and Tyler was glad, it was good to be talking to her about his problems- despite how unreal this actually was.
"Oh? You think you're going to kill yourself and join me, huh?" Devon asked with a hint of anger to her melodic voice. Tyler just nodded, knowing that was what he wanted more than anything in the whole world. "I'm disappointed. You know that's not what I want, Tyler."
Tyler frowned, pulling back to look at Devon. His memory had remembered everything about Devon flawlessly and he was glad to see that her murky grey eyes were just as perfect as always. He could still lose himself in them and he was contemplating doing just that. "I know you don't want it... you'll be angry... De, you're not the one having to put up with this. I can't bear it; you have to understand what I'm saying."
Like always in the dreams that contained Devon these days, she started glowing more and looked behind her with a sad expression. "I have to go, Pie. Don't do anything stupid and I love you..."
"De, don't go... I love you. Please, don't," Tyler began begging, shaking as he realised he was now holding onto thin air and he was alone. He woke up then, clutching at nothing and shouting out nonsense that always contains Devon's name. Roughly a couple of seconds later and Tyler had to work out how he was going to get through the day and if it was worthwhile even getting out of bed.
His alarm went off then. Groaning and getting out of bed without putting much thought into it, Tyler robotically went around his usual morning things before gulping down some tasteless breakfast.
The boy didn't notice Ryan had joined him until he spoke up, for what might have been the millionth time judging by the tone of his voice. "I said, how're you feeling, Tyler?"
"Fine," he replied through a mouthful of whatever it was he'd made himself. Ryan didn't say anything else and just nodded, pouring himself a bowl of cereal. He was used to Tyler's lost mood these days- considering it hadn't been that long since he'd lost Devon it didn't surprise him. Ryan just worried his nephew might not come out of this- he'd never seen someone look so destroyed. What could be done though? He didn't have a clue and was trying to hatch a plan yet again as he finished preparing his breakfast.
"We'll be heading out soon," he reminded him before joining him at the table and eating his own breakfast. Tyler just nodded with a flicker of life to his eyes at that. He seemed to live for work these days, it was the only thing that kept him preoccupied and able to concentrate on something that wasn't Devon like the majority of the time.
Work was the usual sort of thing. Tyler was in his office filling in paper work, making a few calls and having the odd talk with his Uncle. He'd not been surprised when he had only one chance for a five minute break and he saw her. It was a small picture of the pair of them smiling widely with arms around eachother. Even looking at that hurt. He let out a sigh before leaning forward and resting his head on the desk. A couple of minutes like this might just help. He even closed his eyes and made his breathing so precise that he might be thought of as asleep.
"Hey stranger." Tyler blinked, looking up when he realised he had company. He smiled slightly at the woman he'd seen around work and who couldn't be much older than him. She was pretty with curves in all the right places, an otherwise thin frame, big, dark eyes and perfectly straight hair of the same colour. She knew it too and it showed as she winked at Tyler before placing some paper in front of him. "Ryan wants these sending off."
"I'll get on with it now," he said in the usual monotone as he pulled the forms closer, not looking up but noticing she hadn't gone. "Something wrong?"
"I was just wondering why someone so good looking as you looks so sad," she said, leaning across the table and licking her lips.
Didn't she know subtleness? Couldn't she see Devon's photograph? She was still his and he was still hers so he wasn't interested in anyone else, simple as that. "It's none of your business," he said through gritted teeth, glaring at the forms his hands seemed to tighten around.
The woman was hardly taken aback and even smirked slightly. "Not going to ask me on a date, cutie? It'd be a great Christmas treat."
"Get lost!" Tyler shouted, finding himself having a Devon-like outburst. Didn't she realise he didn't care about her or Christmas? Christmas wasn't even something he considered these days.
Looking a bit flustered, the woman glared before standing up and heading out- bumping into the door as she did. Tyler grinned- Devon didn't like her too, he thought as he imagined her having something to do with that little incident. The boy looked at the forms and sighed –there was no way he wanted to do them, not now. He picked up his blazer and headed off in search of Ryan's office. Thankfully Tyler saw that he wasn't busy in his office and proceeded to enter.
"I'm going home," Tyler said simply.
Ryan looked up from his laptop and ran a hand through his hair. He studied Tyler's face for a moment before nodding. "Need a lift?"
"I'll get the bus," he replied before heading out, through the pristine white halls and out to the fresh air that felt amazing on his heated face.
Tyler didn't get off at the stop closest to his home. He was almost shaking as he got off at the cemetery. Still, he needed to spend some time here with her since it always seemed to help calm him down. He was close to her here too and that was all he wanted or needed. It didn't take him long to find her. The stone was huge and fresh with a pile of recent flowers underneath. Once there, Tyler rested a piece of folded paper there.
"My letter to you," he explained quietly as he sat himself in front of the stone. "Well, I should probably say hey first." He tried to laugh but it failed and so he concentrated on his breathing which had slowly become ragged. There was a lengthy silence in which Tyler managed to gather his thoughts. "Everyone misses you, De. Even Maddy, she doesn't realize because she keeps looking towards the door and waiting for you to return but she keeps Luna close- Mathew made her a cart thing and Luna's cage goes on there so they're hardly ever apart," he said, managing a weak smile at the memory. "Dorian told me to tell you that he'll get you. Apparently Dominique- his American girlfriend- showed up at your funeral and he reckons you're to blame." He chuckled a bit, brushing at the back of his neck. "I dreamt about you again last night. Sometimes, I'm sure it's you and it's real. You're saying stuff you'd usually say but then, when I wake up, I know it can't be." Tyler sucked in a deep breath as he felt his eyes sting. It wouldn't do to cry, not now in public. Then he jumped at the feeling of a hand on his shoulder. He turned around but saw nothing. "You're with me right now, aren't you? Well, you've probably not left..." He frowned, not surprised. Devon's presence could always be felt but sometimes, like this, it was stronger. "Am I cracking up?" He sighed, running a hand through his hair which became more ruffled. After another moment, Tyler spoke in a weak voice. "I love you, De. I always will and don't you forget it."
The boy leaned forward, pressing his lips to the stone before he finally stood up and walked out of the cemetery. Tyler didn't get the bus again, instead he walked the half an hour or so walk to the O'Hare house. The walk did him good, not only did he manage to breathe calmly but he was able to get some sort of control of himself, even if he was still sombre and wary. It was cold too, not great since he had no proper coat and he had to stuff his hands into his pockets. Finally he was there and the warm house had never looked so inviting.
He didn't knock and instead just walked in. The smell of cooking which was usually something he lived for besides Devon only slightly lifted the boy's spirits. "Hello?" He called out, not sounding too interested.
Immediately, Madison was at his feet, holding onto string that pulled a cart and cage along. He managed a smile at Madison's wide smile. "You no find Dede?" She asked innocently, looking behind him as if she'd see her older sister there, ready to jump out and surprise her.
Shuddering, which had nothing to do with the cold outside, Tyler kneeled and kissed the little girl's blonde curls that were hard to look at for him- she was going to grow up and look like her sister, except for the eyes. "I'm sorry Mads, she's not coming back," he managed.
Madison nodded and sighed. She clearly didn't understand and that was why she continued to ask that question in hope that one day Devon would show up again. "But she's going to miss tea! Maybe she come back for Christmas."
"That'll do missy." Jesse was already scooping Madison up, tickling her stomach and making her giggle. He might be smiling at his youngest sister but there was a hint of sadness to his eyes that were still surrounded by purple shadows- clearly Tyler wasn't the only one struggling with sleep.
With a grateful smile at Jesse, Tyler headed instantly up the stairs. He paused for the briefest moment outside Devon's room before he entered. He sucked in deep breaths of the smell that was hers and looked around her pink room that was just how she'd left it- except for the hamster. One of his own old shirts rested on her chair by the window with hers, there was a scrap piece of paper with the date and some crossed out words along with a diary that was slowly becoming covered in dust. He was thankful for these little reminders that proved she had existed. It helped to think his Devon had been here, often curled up with her head on his chest and a smile on her face.
There was only one thing, apart from the cage, that had been moved about and currently rested at the bottom of her bed. Tyler went straight to it, sitting on the edge and resting the scrapbook on his lap. Even though Devon hadn't been gone for too long, this book was dog-eared and had the appearance of an older book since it wasn't only Tyler who went through this on a regular basis. He thumbed through it, biting down on his lip and blinking back the tears that came harder to control with every page turn. Then he stopped on a picture of them. They were both soaked with hair everywhere. She wore a bikini and he had nothing on his top half but sunglasses. He smiled slightly as he remembered the time they'd spent in America for his birthday. He should be glad he had the memories, right? Why was he angry? The muscles in his arms were tight as he clenched the scrapbook in between his fingers, eyes not seeing Devon's smiling face.
That was it. He was so angry because she'd left him. Why had she gone and done that to him? Why couldn't she stay? He needed her and she'd gone! Without much consideration, Tyler threw the scrapbook at the wall opposite him. Immediately he felt guilty and picked it up before resting it gently on the bed beside him, almost as if it was a baby. He felt it again- Devon's presence was there to tell him it was okay.
There was a knock on the door and Tyler almost jumped. Jesse's face popped around the corner and he gave a worried look. "Everything alright?" Tyler just managed to nod. "Foods done, take your time."
"I can't move on, De. I can't cope," The boy whispered when he was alone again. He didn't care he was shaking, curled up on her bed as he struggled to breathe. Smile and get on with your life. The words from his dream seemed to race around his mind. It wasn't easy but Tyler managed to heave himself up and breathe somewhat normally. He would do what she wanted, as always, even if it was possibly the hardest thing ever. He would try to live his life. Anything for her.