I Remember Feeling So High But I'm Right Back at the Start

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Things could have gone very differently. For instance, if Luke hadn’t been distracted when he was tuning his acoustic guitar, chances are, life would have gone on as normal. Or if Michael hadn’t left his room to shower. Or if Luke had waited and asked Michael for help instead of being proactive.

But it was bound to happen sometime, right?

As Michael walks back to his room, hair damp and sticking every which way, bright-eyed and reenergized, he hums blissfully under his breath. His fingers twitch at his sides with one hand, tapping out rhythms on his faded skinny jeans as a substitute for his guitar. In his other hand, he scrolls down his feed, checking out the notifications he missed when he was showering. He wonders idly if maybe he should redye his hair soon, seeing as it’s starting to fade.

He twists his doorknob and pushing inward, still humming, still tapping, still scrolling, still thinking, and freezes. His humming cuts off abruptly, his fingers still against his leg immediately, his phone drops down by his side, his thoughts all screech to a halt.

His heart stops in its tracks. Because there, standing there in his room, in front of his dresser, is Luke, head bent and faced away, and Michael thinks he could probably jump on broken glass and it’d be preferable to this. And there’s a bottle in his hand, a billion little blue and white pills all sitting there like a rainbow of all Michael’s problems.

“What the fuck are you doing?” Michael hisses, feeling fire surge in his veins. He advances on Luke fast, reaching for the bottle.

No. No. This isn’t happening.

Luke spins around, panic in his eyes. “I was looking for guitar strings, I broke--I didn’t--I--”

“You thought you could come into my room and look through my stuff? You think that’s okay? God, I was such a fucking idiot to trust you, I--”

Michael slams Luke against the dresser, and the drawers rattle. Luke whimpers, biting down on his lip hard enough it’s a wonder he doesn’t draw any blood. There’s something twisting in Michael and he wants to hurt someone, maybe Luke, maybe himself. He can’t even hear himself think over the sound of his blood rushing through his ears.

“Mi--Mich--stop, I--” Luke drops the bottle from his shaky hands when Michael pins him against the dresser, pressing hard. He draws back, trapped, completely limp.

“What are you doing in my room? Sneaking around like a fucking backstabber, did you just want me to trust you so you could get what you wanted? Going through my stuff, you think it’s okay just because I’ve been nicer to you?”

“Micha--Mich--I didn’t mean to--I didn’t--” Luke stammers, having trouble getting a word out. It infuriates Michael.

“You think we’re friends now, or something, that you can just do whatever you want? Huh?” Michael screams. He’s so blinded by his rage that he barely feels hands pulling him off Luke, barely sees Luke sink to the ground, stuffing his knuckles in his mouth, barely hears Ashton yelling at him to stop-calm down-shut up-get off Luke, barely sees Calum crouching on the ground by Luke and talking to him softly.

“You fucking--Get the fuck out of my room! You’re going to ruin everything!” Michael yells as Ashton yanks him backward, hands tight around Michael’s arm with a dangerous force, holding Michael still even as he fights harder.

Michael doesn’t stop yelling until Ashton locks his own bedroom door behind him, shoving him so hard he stumbles a little. They’re both breathing hard. Michael hasn’t even realized that his anger is laced with fear until now, and there’s a war inside he doesn’t want to fight.

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