When Jeremy wakes up a few hours later he and Tyler have somehow maneuvered themselves under the blankets and he is hesitant to remove himself from the cocoon of warmth. Tyler surrounds him - his head rests on Jeremy's chest as well as an arm flung over his torso along and one leg inserted between the other boy's. Jeremy smiles to himself - he's never told Tyler how much of a blatant cuddler he is when he's asleep - he would deny it anyway. Plus, Jeremy likes knowing something innocent that Tyler doesn't. He scratches the base of Tyler's neck gently, but the boy doesn't stir, not that Jeremy blames him - he must be exhausted from last night and a glance at the clock shows Jeremy that it is only five forty six in the morning. He needs to get going soon, he thinks, but doesn't stop rubbing Tyler's back gently.
How is he going to tell him? How is he going to explain to Tyler everything about vampires, and doppelgangers, and werewolves? And the hardest of all - how is he going to justify not telling him about what really happened to Vicki? To Mason? Jeremy's heart gives a violent thump and his stomach flips. God, how is he going to explain that his own sister's boyfriend killed his boyfriend's uncle. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath through his nose, trying to calm down. He'll cross that metaphorical bridge when he gets to it.
By six twelve he has slipped out from underneath Tyler's sleep heavy body and scribbled a note saying that he'll see him at school in a few hours. Jeremy intends to get out of the Lockwood house unnoticed (even though he's sure Mrs. Lockwood has seen his car is the only one left in the driveway from last night) but a voice stops him dead in his tracks as he passes the kitchen.
"How are your ribs feeling?"
Carol Lockwood, probably not having slept the night before, looks exhausted where she sits at the kitchen island. A cup of what smells like coffee sits on the counter cradled between her hands. She doesn't seem confused or angry to see him trying to slip out of her house in the wee hours in the morning, hair rumpled and clothes wrinkled, but Jeremy still shifts uncomfortably on his feet anyway.
"Uh," he stumbles, in response to her question, "they're- they still hurt but I'm getting pain medication later on so..." he trails off and shifts again.
Mrs. Lockwood nods and looks down into her coffee cup. "How is he?" She asks softly after a few moments of silence and Jeremy's mind goes into a mini tailspin. Is she asking because she assumes he would know because he and Tyler are friends or because she knows where he spent the night, because she knows they are more than friends? He forces himself to calm down and clears his throat before answering.
"Uh, he's," he thinks, wanting to be as truthful as possible. "He's freaked. Pretty worried and really afraid. But I think he'll be okay... eventually."
She still stares into her cup and Jeremy wonders if he can walk away now. If he does he can assume she knows nothing and not freak out about this all day-
"I've been thinking all night," her voice is soft and sad. "What... would this have happened if his father were still here?" Jeremy says nothing, and she continues on. "And then, of course, that reminds me of the fact that I only have Tyler left." A few more moments of silence pass and soon Carol seems to gather her senses, and when she looks up from the depths of her cup she has the cool mask of a mayor's wife back in place. "Tyler never mentions you." Jeremy's chest gives a sharp ache and he tries not to let it show, but her sharp eyes are trained on his face. He looks down and still doesn't speak. What can he say? "Not even once, which is odd because you and he spend an awful lot of time together." Jeremy can't breathe and his face burns. "And I suppose it's no surprise - he's always kept the important things from us. His father never really encouraged total honesty." Bitterness has entered her voice and Jeremy looks up. "And I never really gave an otherwise impression, so, in retrospect, I suppose that it's partially my fault. That even with Richard gone he still feels like he can't come to me... can't tell me things." The bitterness is gone and she gives a sad smile "Luckily I'm an observant woman. I just- I wish that he knew that he's my son and I'd love him no matter what."
Jeremy is speechless.
He...thinks... Carol Lockwood just acknowledged the fact that he son is gay. But he can't be sure because that would mean that... Carol Lockwood just acknowledged the fact that her son is gay. And seems okay with it.
But Jeremy barely has time to process any of this because Mrs. Lockwood is rising from her chair and picking up her cup. "You should get going," she says over her shoulder as she turns on the water to rinse out the mug. "School starts in a couple of hours. And don't forget to tell your sister to come pick up her car later on."
o o o
The first thing Jeremy does when he gets in the house is take a shower. He's surprised that Elena hasn't beaten him to it, but it makes sense when he peeks into her bedroom and sees that her bed is untouched. Guess whatever went on last night brought her and Stefan back together.
Jenna is up and walking around the kitchen, flinching in pan if she moves to quickly or raises her arms to reach for things in the cabinets.
"Sit down," Jeremy tells her, reaching for the cereal for her. "Where's Alaric?"
"He went home to get his lesson plans and head on over to the school," says Jenna and she winces as she sits on the stool. "Why isn't Elena down yet?"
"She spent the night at Bonnie's," Jeremy lies easily. The last thing Jenna needs right now is to be told that Elena spent the night at her boyfriend's house.
"You too?" She asks with a raised eyebrow and a tone of voice that indicates that she already knows the answer.
"No, I spent the night at Tyler's. Some... stuff went down last night and he was freaking out."
Jenna's brow furrows. "What kind of stuff?"
Jeremy sighs – she'll read about it in the newspaper or watch the coverage on the news anyway. By the time he explains everything ( leaving out a few key elements) Jenna's mouth is hanging open slightly and she looks pained. "Oh my God," she says softly.
"Yeah," Jeremy says and rises from his seat. He needs to get going.
"Is Tyler going to be okay?" she asks and Jeremy pauses.
o o o
"Look," Jeremy begins when he sees Stefan in the hallway. "Elena's gotta let me know if I'm supposed to cover for her. I mean Jenna's cool with the two of you, but you guys are pushing it-"
'What are you talking about?" asks Stefan, looking confused.
"You and Elena – look I'm glad you two are back together but if she's gonna sleep over you gotta-"
Stefan stops walking in the crowded hall to hold up a hand. "Hold on, wait a minute. We're not back together.
"Wait – she didn't stay at your place last night?"
"No, I saw her at the party but that was it. She didn't sleep over..."
There is an uneasy silence and even as Jeremy says the words he knows that something is seriously off. "Cause her bed hasn't been slept in... and Mrs. Lockwood said that her car was still in the driveway... Where is she then?"
o o o
Tyler stuffs the now dislodged lock from his locker into his pocket and looks around quickly to see if anyone noticed. His throat is tight, his heightened senses are making the crowded hallway too bright and too loud, and that weird burning feeling is running through his veins. He leaves his locker without getting what he needs and scans the hallway – he wants, needs, to see Jeremy. This morning he'd woken up to a swamp of images from the night before and the intense, almost irrational, need to have Jeremy next to him. He'd gotten over it quickly enough when he'd seen the note left for him, but when his mother had given him those strange, disappointed looks, most likely borne out of accidently killing one of his classmates, the need to be around someone who knew everything spiked.
He doesn't find Jeremy, but does see Caroline. She spots him at the same time and she walks up to greet him.
"Hey, how are you feeling?"
Dangerous, crazy, like I'm still asleep. "Fine. I mean, I'm freaked but... you know..."
Caroline nods and peers at him, as if waiting for him to say something else. Does she expect him to say something else? Did she see what happened to his eyes? Is she expecting him to explain that meltdown? Because he won't, and not only because for the most part he honestly can't.
"Well..." she says slowly and gives him another weird look. "I'm glad everything is... fine."
Tyler nods briskly and looks away from her, feeling uncomfortable. "Yeah... listen, I have to find- I just -" he looks back at her. "I'll see you later."
He ignores the bewildered expression on Caroline's face as he walks away.
o o o
When Jeremy finds himself with a cut palm and a chanting Bonnie in Alaric's empty classroom the main thing he can think (besides the fact that his sister may be in gave danger) is the fact he has to somehow fit the fact that Bonnie is a damn witch into his story later on for Tyler.
o o o
When Tyler finally gets to see Jeremy it is much later in the day then he expected and he looks exhausted. "You okay?" he asks as he sits on Jeremy's bed.
Jeremy nods and slumps down against the pillows eyes closed.
"Yeah, yeah, just... I guess I'll get to it all eventually." He rubs a hand roughly over his face and opens his eyes to look at Tyler. His eyes move over Tyler's face, taking in his features, before he sighs and sits up. "How are you doing?"
Tyler shrugs. He's not in the mood to talk about himself. He wants information and Jeremy must sense this because he sucks in a breath and says, "I... I promised to tell you everything. So, here goes." He takes another deep breath and lets it out in a huff. "There are vampires."
Tyler blinks. "What?"
"Vampires, they're real. And all over the place. Well, all over Mystic Falls. And there are werewolves as you already know and apparently there are witches, but I just found that part out today."
This has all been said in a rush and Tyler doesn't know what to say. He's tempted to call bullshit even though he knows Jeremy isn't lying. If he, Tyler, a werewolf, can exist then vampires sure fucking can. But still... "What?" he asks again, dumbly.
Jeremy tries again. "Let me just say, I'm only telling you what I know, Whatever Elena told me; she knows most of it. All of it really." He shifts and stares at his hands. "There are vampires. They exist and you know them. Stefan and Damon Salvatore... Caroline-" Tyler feels his eyes bug out of his head. Caroline? Caroline is a vampire? "Anna was one... Vicki."
Tyler already can't take anymore. "What – when – when did this all happen?"
"It's a really long story," Jeremy says, almost absentmindedly.
"So tell me all of it," Tyler says and Jeremy does.
o o o
Jeremy tells him everything. About how he figured out that Stefan, Damon, and Vicki were all vampire only after he'd read Elena's diary and discovered he'd been made to forget. He tells about finding out Anna was a vampire and loving her anyway only to have her taken away in front on him. He talks about Alaric, the history teacher, being a vampire hunter who has for some reason decided not to hunt vampires, and how his own family is in a long line of hunters. Then he gets into tricky waters, trying his best to explain how and why Caroline was Turned and who exactly did it.
Tyler gives a small jolt when Jeremy mentions Katherine. "I saw her," he blurts out. "She was in my house, with Mason. They were talking about something... I thought it was Elena." He pauses, looking troubled. "Mason knows about all of this?"
Guilt surges up in Jeremy, hot and stifling, at Tyler mentioning Mason is present tense. Like he still exists, still alive. "Yeah," he chokes out. "Yeah he does. It's weird though..."
"Vampires and werewolves, they're supposed to sworn enemies or something. It doesn't really have to be a thing, but in this case it kind of is."
"I don't know," Jeremy says truthfully. "All I know is that moonstone is a big deal. I didn't know when I told you to keep it but... I had a feeling."
Tyler bows his head and sinks his fingers into his hair and tugs. "I... I don't know. I don't..." He looks up. "Well, whatever is up with that stone at least Mason still has it. I gave it to him." The guilt makes Jeremy's eyes burn and he shrugs. "I just wish he'd call. I...I bet he knows everything. If I could just talk to him." In this moment Jeremy knows he can't be the one to tell Tyler about Mason. How can he? How can he even begin... "Do you know anything about that?" Tyler asks and Jeremy's eyes snap away from where they have drifted to his hands in his lap and to Tyler's stressed, dazed expression. "Do you know where Mason could have gone? I keep calling and leaving messages on his phone but it's off."
Jeremy swallows hard and shakes his head. "Nah, I don't know..."
Tyler sighs heavily and looks down again, fingers back in his hair. "I can't believe... all of this is happening in Mystic Falls and no one knows. All those animal attacks were bullshit. People have just been getting ripped apart by vampires." He gives a weak, humorless laugh. "And I'm going to turn into a werewolf in a few days and... and Mason..." He fades off and is silent. A few minutes pass and when his hunched shoulders begin to shake a horrified Jeremy realizes that Tyler is crying. He's not making any noise, but his breaths are getting shallow and his fingers are gripping his hair tightly.
Without a second thought, Jeremy moves forward on the bed and reaches out to gather Tyler into his arms. Tyler doesn't stop gripping his hair and at the contact he finally lets out a small, barely there, sound of distress.
Jeremy wants to tell him it will all be fine, that everything will work out, but he can't lie anymore. Especially after backing out on the truth about Mason and letting Tyler think he will ever hear his uncle's voice speaking to him again. The guilt for that literally chokes him and, in the end, all he can do is grip Tyler tighter to him - hold on and squeezing his eyes shut when the trembling voice of his boyfriend, repeating how terrified he is, threatens to break his heart.