Labels Are Overrated

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“No, why are we here?” Luke asks. “You said we’re not friends. You buy me a guitar and take me to lunch like it’s a date, and ask me about me, but we’re not friends.”

“Why does that bother you so much?” Michael says. “You don’t want to be friends with me, anyway. I scare you, remember? I’m the big scary meanie who made you cry.”

“Don’t make fun of me.”

“See? And you hate me again, just like that. Why is it important?”

“I don’t know where I stand with you,” Luke says.

“So don’t, then,” Michael says abruptly. “I don’t get you. One minute we’re getting along fine. The next you’re mad at me again. What if we’re friends? It’ll be like this all the time.”

Luke falls silent. Michael waits for him to come up with a response. Luke leans back, hand on the edge of the table, looking at Michael in the lull.

The waiter brings the drinks and the fries Michael asked for. Michael leaves the fries in the middle of the table, leaving it up to Luke to take one or not.

“You know,” Michael says, “I didn’t run after you in the bloody rain and sit outside with you for nothing. And I didn’t go through all that shit in the store because I hate you. I’m just saying. “

Luke bites his lip and Michael wants to punch his stupid mouth for being annoyingly naive.

“And,” Michael continues, “we are sort of in a band together. And I’d be long gone if I didn’t want to be here.”

Luke looks at the fries and then up at Michael again like a question.

“Oh, stop looking at me like that,” Michael says. “You can eat one, you know.”

“It’s okay,” Luke says, looking down at his hands. Michael wonders if his eyes ever get stuck looking down, he does it so often.

Michael takes a fry and swirls it through the air. “Here comes the airplane,” he singsongs.

Luke bats his hand away with an irritated, “Stop,” but he accidentally giggles (he doesn’t want to encourage Michael) and grabs the fry from Michael’s hand anyway.

“We don’t have to be friends,” Michael says, settling back, smile fading, “but maybe it’s better that way. We don’t need a label. I don’t hate you. That’s good enough.”

Luke says after a moment of hesitation, “I don’t hate you either.”

“You’re okay, Luke, you know that?” Michael says.

Luke blinks a couple of times, taking that in. He allows himself a tiny nod. “I guess you’re okay, too.”

---

“Jesus,” Ashton says, gaping. “You bought a guitar?”

Luke’s carrying the electric inside, tilting his body to the other side so he’s not dragged down to the ground. Luke’s mostly bone and no muscle, so Michael offered to carry it in, but Luke refused help.

“The counter guy was a dick, so we bought it and ran,” Michael explains.

“Well, fuck me,” Calum marvels. “I didn’t know you two went out together. Thanks for the invite.”

“You were sleeping,” Luke says. “You were drooling.”

“You want to try it out for real?” Michael asks, shutting the door behind him. “The amp’s in the corner.”

“That’s okay,” Luke says, shifting his weight. “I’d rather do it when I’m alone.” He readjusts his grip on the guitar case’s handle. “I’m going to go to my room for a bit.”

“Have fun,” Ashton says distractedly. “I think I will, too.”

Michael sits on the armchair, bending over to untie his Converse. Calum flops down on the couch, hands folded on his chest.

“I didn’t know Luke had saved enough for a guitar,” Calum says.

Michael’s fingers still momentarily. “It was on sale.”

“I didn’t know the guitar store did sales.”

“I guess they do.”

“Did you buy him the guitar?”

Michael freezes and sits up, shoe half untied. “What?”

Michael wasn’t exactly planning on telling anybody what went down, and he didn’t think Luke was either, so he has to proceed about this very carefully. Nobody needs to know what happened. They’ll think Michael’s gone soft. He hasn’t.

“You bought him the guitar, didn’t you?”

“Helped,” Michael corrects, feeling his face flush. “I only helped him.”

“Okay. So you helped him buy the guitar.”

“How’d you guess?” Michael says, throat dry. Calum’s turned his head to look at Michael, absolutely serious.

“Because I’ve been to that store a million times and they don’t do sales. Also, I know how much Luke had, and it would have had to be a pretty big sale. You even said, ‘We bought it.’”

“Oh,” Michael says, and he thinks he could maybe die. “I did, didn’t I?”

“Yeah.” Calum swings his legs over the edge of the couch and stands up. “What’s your deal?”

“My deal?”

“Are you friends, then?”

Damn it, why does everybody need to know if Michael and Luke are friends? Michael doesn’t know. He doesn’t know what they are at this point.

“I don’t know. Maybe.”

“You’re not messing with him, are you?” Calum’s staring Michael down. No, Michael’s definitely not messing with Luke.

“Of course not,” Michael says.

“Because this is a pretty fast turnaround. I mean, I know you guys sort of made up and everything, but...”

“I’m not messing with him,” Michael says. “I swear.”

“Good,” Calum says. “Because the thing about Luke is, he takes a long time to trust someone, but when he does, he trusts blindly, he’ll put his life in your hands and if you break it, he’ll never trust you again.”

“I said I wasn’t messing with him.”

“I’m just saying,” Calum says. “He’s not like everyone else. You have to understand.”

“I do.”

“Alright,” Calum says. He flops back down on the couch, pulling out his phone.

Michael does understand. Luke’s difficult and irritating and small and timid, but he’s not so bad. Michael can learn to deal with him.

---

(A/N) So I know compared to last chapter this chapter is short af but whatever idc rn bc my mom is giving me shit and I basically hate everything

How's everyone's summer going?

Favorite Muke fics?

Anyway so yeah sorry this took so damn long for such a short chapter I just couldn't get inspired for once

I put Big Jet Plane on the side because I can, not because it relates to this chapter
I love you all 

Please comment and vote and shit, thanks :) <3 bye

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