You're In My Veins and I Cannot Get You Out

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It’s supposed to be okay again after that, but Michael knows it’s not, Luke knows it’s not, they all know it’s not. Things aren’t quite like they were when Michael first arrived, he’s not at Luke’s throat all the time, but things aren’t good. And frankly, Michael’s not sure if staying is the right choice anyway. Isn’t this what it’s going to be like all the time? This isn’t going to work if it’s always up and down.

It’s not stable, it’s not for sure, Michael doesn’t like it. He hates how Luke avoids his eyes (again, like they’re still enemies), he hates how Luke glances up at him fleetingly, cautiously. He was an idiot for thinking it would be that easy, for thinking that he could get away from all his problems this easily. He knows it doesn’t just happen like that.

The guilt hasn’t evaporated. It can’t, really, when every time Michael sees Luke, he remembers what he did.

Days pass. If he bumps into Luke, they both skitter apart nervously, avoiding gazes and trying to get away as fast as possible, apologizing excessively. Everything they do feels forced. It’s like being back at the start.

The worst part is that Michael knows if he hadn’t screwed up, they might actually be friends now. Good friends. Or at least decent. He had his chance. And now he’s not sure he’ll get another.

He didn’t even mean to care if they were friends or not. Michael doesn’t like labels anyway. Not for how he interacts with people. Except for maybe sexuality, but Michael tries to ignore that part of himself. The way he sees it (or tries to), unless he meets someone who he actually has a chance with, it doesn’t matter. It shouldn’t affect the rest of his life (but it does).

Friendship is one of those things that falls under the “Not Classified” section. Well, sure, if anyone asks, he’s friends with Ashton. But Michael isn’t too concerned. As long as he gets along with someone, it shouldn’t matter what they call themselves. He’s not supposed to care about this.

A lot of things are mixed up in Michael’s head right now. The meds slow down his thoughts, one of his least favorite parts about it. Why does he even care what he and Luke are? Maybe Michael doesn’t want to keep things distant. Maybe he wants to be part of what the other three boys have. He wants to fit in.

Maybe.

The horrible thing about people is that only the special ones give special people a real second chance. And Luke’s special, yeah, but Michael’s not, and that’s what really worries him. Sometimes Michael’s not even sure why anyone keeps him around.

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Michael gets surprise attacked when he’s going to bed. He’s feeling pretty shit to begin with, what with Ashton teasing him about moping around and Calum telling him his hair’s starting to look like someone spilled paint on it and forgot to clean it up. Things Michael normally wouldn’t give a shit about, but coupled with the conflicting thoughts and his chemically altered attitude, he’s pretty done. He’s not his mum, he doesn’t go up and down, he just stays down.

It’s like his mother senses when he takes a plunge. And Michael, being the stupid fucker he is, always takes her calls. It’s like he’s asking to get hurt.

“Michael? Michael, baby, why haven’t you called back?”

“I’ve been busy,” Michael says, tracing patterns onto the exposed skin of his knee where his skinny jeans ripped. “I’m sorry. How are things?”

“They’re okay. Maddie’s nice to me.”

“Good,” Michael says, hoping they can get through a single call without her reminding him of what a horrible son he is to leave her. So far, he’s had no luck. “Mum, I’m going to go to bed, I’ll call you in the morning.”

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